weevils in rice

Know how to get rid of weevils in your pantry

Banish weevils before they ruin your perfectly good grains.

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What to know about weevils

  • Weevils are common pantry pests that eat and burrow deep into your grains and other food to lay eggs.

  • Food-infested weevils must be thrown out or dealt with immediately to eliminate weevils. The pantry also needs to be cleaned thoroughly to clear all traces of the bugs.

  • Preventing weevils is simple: inspect your newly bought food, clean your pantry and storage bins regularly and store your food properly.

Carbs are the foundation of a satisfying diet. Rice, bread, and pasta can keep you full and energised. But these kitchen staples can attract pests like weevils.

Maize weevils ruin corn, weevils in flour can spoil your next bake and bugs in rice burrow in each grain. Keeping your pantry bug-free is vital for your health and safety. If you're dealing with a weevil infestation right now, here are some tips on how to get rid of weevils in your pantry.

What are weevils?

There are a few different types of weevils, but grain weevils, like rice and granary weevils, are two of the most common kinds. These are reddish-brown bugs that grow around 2.5-3.5mm in size. They commonly feed on different grains but can also go through food items like pasta, dried fruits and snacks. 

A unique and disgusting characteristic of weevils is that they live in their food. They make holes in grains, burrow in, and lay their eggs there, creating both a home and a feeding ground for themselves and their larvae. It’s also why they are dangerous because there might be weevils inside your stored food, and you wouldn’t know it.

Signs of weevils in your pantry

a macro shot of a rice weevil

  • If you see tiny bugs in your stored food, they are most likely weevils. Weevils in flour and rice are usually the easiest to spot, as the dark-coloured bugs are noticeable against the white colours.
  • Dusty residue on your food can also be present during a weevil infestation. This is more visible when you pour the grains into water.
  • Empty husks, which are insect remains, also indicate an infestation and are usually one of the most obvious signs.
  • Keep an eye out for those little holes in your packaging – weevils can be the culprits in the tiny punctures you see in cardboard boxes and plastics.
  • Weevils cause a musky odour, so if you notice an unusual smell around your pantry, check for weevils infestation immediately.

How to get rid of weevils naturally in your pantry

These bugs might seem scary, but getting rid of weevils is surprisingly easy, and you can get rid of them naturally. You don’t need much to do some basic pest control to get rid of pesky weevils.

Seal and dispose of affected food

beans infested with weevils

Once you spot weevils in your food, consider the food-infested products good as gone. There’s too much risk in removing weevils, and there’s no guarantee you can thoroughly clear the weevil infestation because they burrow in the food.

Before you throw out the contaminated food, seal it in airtight containers to prevent it from infecting other food. Grain weevils, in particular, are pesky pests that can sneak out of the trash and go for their next target. 

Make a vinegar and water spray solution

Vinegar is one of the most common home remedies for a weevil infestation. Start by making a spray solution with plain white vinegar and water. You can then put that mixture into a spray bottle to eliminate weevils around the area and food. 

This solution works best for food that isn’t heavily infested with weevils since this will kill weevils that stick to the surfaces of the other food items.

Clean your food storage areas and containers thoroughly

a woman cleaning the kitchen pantry

While weevils live in the food, it doesn’t mean they’re not in the rest of your kitchen. A thorough cleaning is necessary to ensure your pantry is clear of common pest infestation. 

Use hot, soapy water and wipe down all your cabinets and shelves. Grab your vacuum to suck up any hidden pests in the cracks and crevices. Afterwards, let the food storage areas dry before putting back the rest of your food items.

Don’t forget to clean the containers where you stored the infested products. Give them a good scrub with soap and water, then dry them thoroughly before reusing them for other fresh food.

Use extreme temperatures to save stored food

If there is some food that you want to save, like pet food or items that don’t have too many weevils in them, then you can use extreme temperatures to banish weevils. You can heat dry food in the oven to kill weevils that could still be on the food. 

However, this method won’t kill weevil eggs. You’ll need to repeat the heat process after at least seven days when the eggs have hatched. 

Alternatively, you can put the infested food in the freezer and leave it there for a day–this should kill all weevils regardless of where they are in their life cycle. This is a good option to save food that cannot be reheated. 

Important: Do not use pesticides. Not only will pesticides be more harmful to the food you will disinfect, but the chemicals may linger in your kitchen pantry and contaminate your other food. 

5 Ways to prevent weevils in your pantry

weevils on grains of rice

  1. Inspect your food when you buy it. Bugs in rice and granary weevils are especially easy to spot, so a quick check-in every now and then can save your pantry from a nightmare.

  2. Check the packaging in the store before you buy. If the boxes are already suspiciously dusty or worn down, weevils or other common pests might have gotten to them already. This isn’t always the case, but it’s better to be sure than sorry. 

  3. Proper storage is the best way to deter weevils. Use airtight containers to keep weevils out of your food. Glass containers help prevent weevils well.

  4. Clean your cupboards and cabinets often. Cleanliness can go a long way in stopping weevils in their tracks. Throw away old grains, and inspect for any signs of weevils and other pests. Clean spills immediately to avoid the residue from attracting bugs.

  5. Bay leaves are a natural anti-weevil measure. Put some leaves scattered around your kitchen pantry to ensure rice weevils and maize weevils don’t bother your tasty grains.

Save your grains and get rid of pantry pests

Weevil infestations are a real pain, and dealing with it is a headache. So, check your pantry and food items regularly. If you've got an infestation, ditch the affected grains and clean your cabinets to remove their sneaky eggs in the nooks and crannies.

If the weevils are too big of a problem for simple cleaning, then you should call in a pest control expert to deal with your pantry pests, from weevils to cockroaches, so that you can go back to a safe and clean, weevil-free kitchen.

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FAQs on pantry weevils

The only way you can get rid of weevils is by thoroughly cleaning your kitchen pantry. Make sure you give every crack and crevice a good vacuum and spray with vinegar and water solution. However, you can always call a pest control specialist to deal with a major infestation at your home.

The truth is weevils are not harmful to humans. Whether you touch them or even accidentally ingest them, they do not cause any bodily harm. However, they are not pleasant to eat. Plus, they eat up all the real food in your pantry.

If your food is stored in its original cardboard or plastic containers, then weevils can dig holes in them to get inside, eat and burrow into the food inside. Transferring your food into glass or metal containers can prevent them from getting inside and spreading all over.

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